Anything in life we want to do well we need to practice to make it happen. The same goes for listening to God’s voice and hearing what he has to say. We need to practice hearing his voice. Often we can determine what God is saying with our feelings, intuition if you will; however, we need to practice determining if it is of God, our own desires or the enemy that is the source of our intuitions. And we must never thrust intuition alone nor can it go against scripture. Then what do we do when there is nothing to support a decision either way? We pray, seek council of trusted believers, and still no definitive answer, then what?
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 (NLV)
So many times I’ve had a little thought slip into my mind of something I’d like to do. I become excited, plan out my way but God didn’t lead (Proverb 16:9). My problem is that I have so many interests and get excited about too many things that I eventually lose touch with God’s voice. So when overwhelmed by too many choices or dreams look at each one individually and ask yourself what is at the heart of this choice. For me it was helping others live their dream and there was always an underlying sense of adventure.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (NLT)
For each choice, test the spirits (1 John 4:1), maybe even step out a bit and see where the spirit leads or take the other direction away from the choice and think “what if I never do this”. Is there a sense of loss, of sadness? When you think of going forward is there just excitement or is it combined with unexplainable joy, peace and an urgency to move forward. Always trust and listen to the Holy Spirit. There will be a holy ease. If no answer comes either way it may not be the right time – God isn’t’ in a hurry.
Another choice you may be confronted with is when you’re already involved in something and sense it may be time to move on. You need to be careful here too. God may want you elsewhere but the enemy may too. You may be tired, bored or frustrated with the current situation and ready for change. Unless you are confident God wants you to move on, no matter how miserable the situation, stay where God told you to stay the last time you heard from him. When he’s done with a situation, no matter what effort we put into a project, it won’t work. When there is flow it is only because God gave you the power and grace to do it. Without him you can do nothing (John 15:5).
Light at the end of the tunnel
Long into my two year road trip friends started asking “how can you keep doing this?” It was by the grace of God. There was nothing in me, nothing under the sun that could have made me do anything else. The few times when things got tough and I did think about quitting I’d be engulfed in sorrow and loss of hope. I knew God wanted me where I was. In the darkest hour, when I had lost hope and joy, it had gotten so bad that I didn’t think I could go on but I knew in my heart I couldn’t quit. Continuing was dreadful, it was November and I was heading to the northeast to another bitter winter living without heat in my van. I finally gave up those thoughts and told God “you lead and I’ll follow. I will endure whatever you ask but I refuse to quit”. My courage returned. After a month of snow storms and sub-freezing temps, God blasted through the darkness and gave me my Hallmark Christmas. I would have never met the family I’d been searching for most of my life if I had quit before God was finished.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
It’s always darkest before dawn. If we give up too soon we may miss the miracle blessing God desperately wants to give us. Moving too soon, outside his will can only delay or prevent God working in our lives and the lives of others.